Difference and the Virtual


Session Title:

  • Virtual Interventions: Digital Avant Gardes

Presentation Title:

  • Difference and the Virtual



  • Considering the notion of revolution, it is often tempting to consider the ‘new’ as revolutionary in itself, begetting the temptation to cast the whole within its light, inevitably leading to its own dogmatism. Thus, intrinsic to the questioning of revolution (in both senses), must be the questioning of world and our bond with it. A thinker who addresses issues pertinent to our consideration of the ‘digital revolution’ is Gilles Deleuze. In his ‘counter history’ of philosophy, we see the development of the Bergsonian notion of the virtual. The virtual, often seen as a possibility which seeks realisation, is seen as something real (difference in itself) which undergoes a process actualisation. The virtual has no identity, no connection with the one and the same, it is a multiplicity which is explicated into identity. Thus we can consider a sensibility where the virtual is that from which the phenomena of the world emerge. The hypothesis explored is that within the multiplicity and immateriality of the digital, we find, if we abandon the simulation of a reality which subverts its own, the most radical means that we have of encountering a sensuality of the virtual; and the revolutionary power of the digital.